We’ve all seen various Toyota Land Cruisers for sale that just seem too good to be true! These rigs truly look great on-line, with the visually stunning photos that have been hand-crafted by pixel-fabricators with tools such as “photo-chop” and fancy filter effects to play on our emotional desires!

But on another level, these rigs do look good in person… from afar. Speaking of afar… they’ve often traveled here from afar as well. Once monies have have cleared via wire transfers and the vehicle cleared customs, overland transportation to your location – NOW ITS ALL YOURS! Now it’s in your driveway, with what type of warranty? Who are you going call to help you with the electrical gremlins that are now seaming appearing out of the glovebox? How are your going to get the seller to help you sort a minor mechanical issue even within mere weeks of your proud purchase?

Lets go directly to the end results of such a purchase. We recently received a phone call about a recent purchase, the vehicle was delivered with no fluid in the master cylinder and weak-sauce brakes. The supplied “inspection report” from the broker/seller/importer noted the “low” fluid in the master cylinder, “but the brakes work.” Upon discussing the details with the happy new Land Cruiser owner, is now concerning as we highly suggested a full mechanical inspection as this was sold a recent restoration build that was brought into the country.

With regards to our inspection, we provide a comprehensive inspection service for incoming vehicles that we do not have any prior maintenance history with, and or for guys buying used rigs, needing a full inspection to better know the mechanical condition of the vehicle. And with good cause….

Lets just cut to the chase to what might be a vehicles single biggest safety feature – BRAKES!
Before brakes, things in motion were stopped by trees, rocks or cliffs. How many cavemen died testing out the latest Fred Flintstone car prior to a stick in the ground after the caveman stubbed a toe attempting to stop his heavy rock-wheeled Cruiser with his Dino skin retreaded “Jerusalem Cruisers” strapped to his feet?
Al. joking aside, brakes are very serious.

Brakes, in our opinion, are rather important! What you see here is a complete disregard for human safety. When money becomes more important than life. We are all automotive enthusiast of which we all make up this Land Cruiser community and is disheartening to see things like this. What you see here is copper tubing of what looks like a low-pressure water line from a refrigerator in place for a brake line. It was previously “spray-plated” as noted in the photo below.

During the inspection, our tech noticed that the brake lines are starting to “flake” as the builder did a very cheap “plating job” aka “spray-platted” with a can of Zinc colored spray paint on the brake lines. At first glance, the brake lines look “all new” but under the flaking revealed the low-pressure copper tubing.

With the removal of the ‘low pressure” copper tubing, the fitting revealed that the “head” or seating surface of the tube is not flared in the correct manner with the proper tool. In the photo below, the top fitting is what is coming out of the “freshly restored” Land Cruiser. Notice how it looks as though a screw-driver was used to “flare” the tubing for the fitting to clamp down against. The issue is, there is very little surface area that the fitting can hold and seal against. It is said that we want at least 1,200 psi as the ultimate line pressure under severe braking conditions. Does that look like it will hold 1,200 psi very long? It was only going to be a matter of time for failure. If the flared – seat didn’t fail, it would be the low-pressure copper tubing itself, typically cracking linearly along the tube itself.

We are making all new brake lines from top-to-bottom and front-to-back for this rig before it can go on the road in a safe and sound manner. In the photo above, the fitting shown at the bottom, notice how our tube extends out past the fitting, specially “cupped” with the proper tool, yielding the proper shouldered-surface area to seal against.

Another side-by-side view (left) brake line fitting that is coming off the “restored” Land Cruiser and (right) what we will be replacing with as proper brake line flaring. Again, these are safety item details that we hold in high regard.

In other inspection details, this Forty Series Land Cruisers fenders have these mounts that bolt to the frame rail.
Notice the mis-matched bolts, two are missing washers, one broken off into the frame and painted over.

Rear shackle-mount has some “bubble-yum-bubble gum” filler holding the thru-bolt to the mount, also is mis-aligned.
Interestingly we see quite a few “wheel-nut-stud” used in various bolt locations.

Two different size shackle C-bolts. Just little details…

Frame has a section added in to stretch it, so at least they added some extra material around the frame as a gusset….
You can trust it if you like…

More bubble-yum-bubble-gum. #WinchPlease

Shock mount missing a bolt. When viewed from the side, it’s visually “tucked” behind the shock out of direct view.
This was just some of the things noted from the undercarriage as there is more going on under the hood.

This is not our first experience with crafty visuals of mis-guided mechanically unsound Land Cruiser restorations, just the recent of what seems to be an ever-growing issue on the rise!

At the end of the day, we hate seeing monies spent on “restored” vehicles as such! You can simply tell the intentions of seller is to “get over” on the customer even if it’s at the sake of safety. Buyer beware! Be very aware, you will be preyed upon through your passion.

Call us to schedule an inspection. Vehicle inspections are typically 1 – 2hrs. Please note that just because we perform the inspection, does not mean that we will “leapfrog” your vehicle’s issues in front of current customer projects. Sometimes we can squeeze portions in, but no guarantee or promises!

Red Line Land Cruisers
Phone (719) 638-2003
Address: 1050 Ford Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80915-2909

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